Malteser Hilfsdienst is one of Germany’s largest charitable organisations, providing humanitarian relief to victims of natural or human-made disasters. With approximately 10,000 vehicles in operation in Germany, its procurement team had long been keen to turn its attention to the sourcing of tyres and tyre-related services, as this category was seen as a prime opportunity for potential savings, but the team lacked the resources to get started. Efficio’s offer to donate its expertise through experienced procurement and supply chain consultants as part of a pro bono project came at just the right time.
The project stemmed from a group of Germany-based consultants who were eager to take their social involvement beyond Efficio’s regular commitment to charity. “We wanted to go beyond monetary donations by consciously dedicating our spare time to give back to society,” explained Senior Manager Tobias Berlemann. In their search for suitable opportunities, the consultants realised that they would be able to provide the most value doing what they do best: procurement optimisation for a charitable aid organisation.
The unexpected challenge: Searching for partners for a pro bono project
The search for a suitable not-for-profit partner proved more difficult than expected. The local organisations contacted often suspected that the offer masked a sales campaign – as did Malteser Hilfsdienst initially. “I receive similar offers for assistance every day. Everyone wants to get their foot in the door without a proper tendering process, and nobody seems to do anything for free,” said Daniel Linzbauer, Head of Procurement at Malteser Deutschland, describing his initial reluctance.
However, he was won over after Efficio addressed his concerns in a professional manner that expressed a genuine desire to help. He recognised that Malteser could benefit significantly from the expertise of procurement consultants, as sourcing tyres had been on the procurement department’s back burner for a long time.
The Malteser tyre project
Over the years, a variety of regional procurement and handling processes had become established across the organisation. Tyres and their associated services were purchased at local sites from many different suppliers, but it was recognised that more centralised procurement processes would generate greater savings. Looking back on the initial situation, Linzbauer reflected: “Because of the resources and data available at the time, we didn't have the confidence to analyse, process, and optimise this important savings opportunity internally”.
Efficio consultants Tobias Berlemann, Gregor Leschinski, Marten Kayser, Christian Wolf, and Laura Zöller rose to the challenge. Their goal: to harmonise and optimise the strategic sourcing of tyres for Malteser Hilfsdienst, on a voluntary basis outside of their usual Efficio working hours, so that every resulting euro saved could instead be dedicated to other social needs.
The challenge: Optimising a complex, data-intensive category
This was no simple task. The Malteser Hilfsdienst fleet consists of around 10,000 vehicles across Germany that are used for medical services, disaster control, or social services. The pool includes large HGVs, vans, ambulances, and small passenger vehicles for mobile social service interventions. Summer, winter, and all-season tyres were therefore required for many different types of vehicles, with multiple variables in a non-standardised handling process.
Our data-driven approach
The first step was to build a sound data foundation. "As is often the case with cost optimisation projects, getting our hands on the data that we needed for analysis was challenging,” said Gregor Leschinski. The consultants therefore dug in, conducting in-depth interviews with fleet managers, for example. All the data obtained on the German fleet and its associated expenditure then had to be collected, revised, and evaluated.
Speaking about this voluntary commitment, Berlemann says, “Our work was just as structured, intensive, and carefully executed on as any other projects we’ve worked on”.
The only differences: the data was prepared over weekends and in the evening, requiring a significant number of hours from all the consultants involved; the remarkable cooperation and collaboration with the Malteser procurement team was extremely motivating; and the mutual support and communication within the Efficio volunteer team was also instrumental to realising the savings opportunities.
Malteser was highly appreciative of the team’s spirit of voluntary service.
Transparency and harmonisation of processes
“Achieving data transparency around the existing vehicles, requirements, and expenditure was a truly mammoth task – but one that was worth the effort. I am always fascinated by how much insight we can gain from data preparation and targeted analyses,” said Marten Kayser.
Based on this new transparency, consultants were able to harmonise tyre procurement processes throughout all regions in order to:
- Promote best-in-class sourcing
- Analyse and optimise specifications
- Revise the supplier base
- Set up a strategic sourcing event for tyres and related services (tendering and evaluation of results)
- Conduct new negotiations with service providers and tyre manufacturers
The result: 20 percent cost savings that allow Malteser to expand its global humanitarian work
The Efficio pro bono team managed to structure and harmonise this complex tyre category within nine months, with the previously regionally fragmented supplier base being consolidated into 10 recommended partners. Costs were reduced by 20 percent due to the introduction of manufacturer fleet bonuses, optimised product specifications, product price reductions, and improved processes. The success of this project means that six-figure sums can be re-invested each year in the aid agency’s other social projects. “That is a much larger amount than we would ever have been able to donate as individuals,” said Efficio consultant Laura Zöller.
Daniel Linzbauer, Head of Procurement at Malteser, is more than satisfied:
The Efficio team has provided us with an excellent result in addition to further implementation steps. It is now up to our team to pursue implementation, and I know that we no longer have any excuses.
A beacon for further pro bono projects at Efficio
This project has been a positive experience for all the Efficio consultants involved.
Even though the amount of spare time invested was greater than initially planned, the project was extremely enriching on a personal level due to the great appreciation shown by Malteser Hilfsdienst, the fantastic teamwork, and the remarkable results. It feels great to be able to give something back to society.
In addition to the success for our client, the pro bono project attracted a great deal of attention within Efficio and encouraged other colleagues to get involved. Pro bono teams are currently being established in the USA, Great Britain, Denmark, and the UAE to take on social consultancy projects in their regions, buoyed by the success of our German consultants’ work with Malteser.
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